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Archive for July, 2012

Adrian easily moves into 100 free finals

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian had two strong swims in the 100-meter freestyle Tuesday, putting him in prime position to make the medal podium in Wednesday’s final.

Adrian was the fastest qualifier in the morning preliminaries and continued his fast swimming by posting the second-fastest time in the semifinals in 47.97 seconds. His prelim time was 48.19.

Australian James Magnussen was the fastest qualifier with a time of 47.63. Third seed was Cuba’s Hanser Garcia 48.04. World-record holder and Olympic bronze medalist Cesar Cielo of Brazil qualified fifth in 48.17. Cullen Jones did not make the final.


Adrian tops prelim swim in 100 free

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Continuing his fast swim from Sunday’s 400-meter freestyle relay leg, Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian was the fastest qualifier in the 100 freestyle early Tuesday morning at the Olympic Aquatic Center in London.

Adrian’s time of 48.19 for the top seed heading into the semifinals. His time was close to his textile-best 48.05 from the 2011 World Championships. Adrian swam the lead-off leg in the 400 free relay in a time of 47.89 to help Team USA win a silver medal.

South Africa’s Gideon Louw was second in prelims in 48.29, followed by Netherlands’ Sebastiaan Verschuren (48.37), Australia’s James Magnussen qualified fourth (48.38). Also making the top eight were Canada’s Brent Hayden (48.53), Cayman Island’s Brett Fraser (48.54), Belgium’s Pieter Timmers (48.54) and Russia’s Nikita Lobintsev (48.60).

Other semifinalists include Team USA’s Cullen Jones (48.61), who qualified 10th, and defending Olympic bronze medalist and world-record holder Cesar Cielo of Brazil tied with Poland’s Konrad Czerniak in 48.67. France’s Yannick Agnel (48.93), Fabien Gilot (48.95), Cuba’s Hanser Garcia (48.97) and Cayman Island’s Shaune Fraser (49.99) also qualified.

The semifinals will be shown at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday live at NBCOlympics.com. It will be re-broadcast during NBC’s tape delayed coverage starting at 12:30 p.m.


Adrian leads U.S. to silver medal

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Nathan Adrian swam a spectacular opening leg in the finals of the 400-meter freestyle relay Sunday.

It just wasn’t enough to defend the gold.

Adrian and his American teammates finished silver in 3 minutes, 10.38 seconds. France came from behind, just like the Americans did to France in 2008 in Beijing, to win in 3:09.93. Russia won the bronze in 3:11.41. Pre-race favorite Australia finished off the podium in fourth.

Adrian led-off the race in 47.89 giving the U.S. the lead, which it held thanks to a remarkable split by Michael Phelps (47.15) and Cullen Jones (47.60). Lochte swam the anchor in 47.74, but France’s Yannick Agnel swam out of this world in 46.74, passing him in the final few meters.

While the loss was disappointing for the Americans, it does set up an interesting 100 freestyle which begins Tuesday.

Adrian’s time was good enough for third-fastest in the world this year, right behind Australia’s James Magnussen and James Roberts. Adrian has said getting on the podium to add to the medal haul by the U.S. has been his only goal. Magnussen’s time of 48.03 and Roberts’ time of 48.09 from the relay would likely leave them off the podium come Wednesday’s final.


Confirmed: Adrian to leadoff 400 free relay

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

UPDATE: It’s been confirmed that Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian will leadoff the heavily anticipated 400 freestyle relay final Sunday.

He will be followed by Michael Phelps, Cullen Jones and Ryan Lochte. The U.S. will have to go sub-48 in all four splits if it wants a chance to claim the gold against the Australians, the favorites and top seed.

UPDATE: Initial Twitter traffic has Nathan Adrian swimming the lead-off leg in the 400 freestyle relay, followed by Cullen Jones, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

According to an earlier report by Lochte’s agent, the superstar was said to be swimming the anchor leg, but that report has since been pulled back. The final can be seen live during swimming coverage at 11:22 a.m. at NBCOlympics.com.

The team has not officially been announced.

Check back for an update when the team is named.


Nathan Adrian set to swim in relay final Sunday morning

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

The United States’ 400-freestyle relay had the second-fastest preliminary time early Sunday morning at the London Olympics.

Nathan Adrian and Cullen Jones are guaranteed spots in the finals, which can be seen live at NBCOlympics.com at 11:30 a.m.

The preliminary team of Matt Grevers, Jason Lezak, Jimmy Feigen and Ricky Berens finished in 3 minutes, 12.59 seconds, finished second behind Australia in the same heat in 3:12.29.

Aussie superstar James Magnusson swam the anchor, which could mean he will swim against Adrian in the final. USA Swimming hasn’t announced the four final swimmers, but Adrian has swam in the anchor position at the last two major international competitions.


Nathan Adrian videos galore

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

I’ve been covering Nathan Adrian’s career since he was a 13-year-old freshman at Bremerton High School.

He was pretty shy back then — I think he was even wondering why I wanted to interview him for a story we ran at the start of the high school boys season in 2002-03.

In that time I’ve seen him transform into a well-spoken young man with a great sense of humor who can handle an interview with the best of them.

It’s also clear the camera loves him — whether its TV, video or photo — he’s been splashed on photo pages from Glamour, US Weekly, In Touch, as well as countless videos online.

Here are links to some videos he’s done in the last seven months.

Let’s start with this video on YouTube from TeamUSA that shows Nathan’s competitive side and introduces you to his family — dad Jim, mom Cecelia, sister Donella and brother Justin.

Stack.com has a video introducing the U.S. Olympians: Nathan Adrian

Here’s another TeamUSA video on YouTube, entitled Nathan Adrian Qualified — Finely Tuned Machine

NBCOlymics.com video with Nathan talking about wanting to swim in the 400 free relay in London. And another video of Nathan talking about what it was like to win a gold medal and watch Jason Lezak come from behind to claim the victory for the U.S. in 2008 in Beijing

Another YouTube video from TeamUSA, Nathan Adrian Qualified — A Rising Champion

U.S. Olympic diver Brittany Viola teaches Nathan how to salsa

Here’s one of Nathan showing off his skills as an RC helicopter pilot

This one was pretty embarrassing for Nathan, but it’s well publicized so I don’t feel too bad — hint: think suit malfunction

His reaction to the above video is pretty hilarious too

A TeamUSA YouTube video of Nathan as he headed into the team trials in Omaha.

And here’s a video from California of Nathan talking about what it’s like swimming at the Olympic Games

Peter Busch of the Morning Swim Show interviews Nathan following the 2012 NCAA championships, the Indianapolis Grand Prix, and that suit split once again

 


Everything you need to know about Marvin landing in Utah

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Wherever Marvin Willimas goes, and the media is involved, the first thing that comes up his politeness, his nice-guy persona. He made that same impact in Salt Lake City Wednesday, as a local columnist noted.
Here’s Marvin’s comments on the trade. Here’s a look at how he could fit into the Jazz’s lineup.
For the first time since high school, Marvin won’t be wearing No. 24. Here’s the story behind that.


More on Jason Hammel’s resurgence

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Yesterday, I had a chance to watch South Kitsap graduate Jason Hammel pitch against the Mariners. He fared well before running into trouble in the seventh inning of a 6-3 loss. Here is the feature I wrote on Hammel, who has been a steady presence on the mound during his first season with the Baltimore Orioles.

Earlier in the week, I asked Jason Churchill of ProspectInsider.com — he also is a scouting analyst for ESPN Insider — to explain Hammel’s turnaround. After all, this is a guy who looked like an average starting pitcher for six seasons with Tampa and Colorado before improving his stats across the board this year.

Here is what Churchill had to say about Hammel:

This year, Hammel clearly has a better plan and it starts with the use of his fastball. He’s throwing few more curveballs early in games to keep hitters off balance and to change their eye levels the first time through the lineup — but the fastball has also ticked up a bit in velocity by almost a full mph, which is significant.

The arm side run on his fastball is prevalent; in past years, that was a straight pitch for Jason and he needed to cross it over to his glove side — in on a left-handed batter, away from a right-hander — to get any sink. In 2012, he’s been using run it back over the outer edge against right-handed hitters early in the count and ties up lefties with it.

When you can do that down in the zone — something Hammel wasn’t doing a year ago as he was up in the strike zone regularly in 2011 — the secondary stuff becomes more effective.

Hammel, simply put, is a completely different pitcher. Even the slider is better this year — after being a flat pitch with little break and no tilt last year, it’s got bite and he’s keeping it down consistently.

As a result, he’s getting ahead and is better equipped to put away hitters when he gets to two strikes. Rather than a full arsenal with a plus fastball, two fringe breaking balls and below average everything else, including command, he’s solid-average across the board to go with the plus fastball.

It’s a bit backwards that he had to come back to the American League, and in the East, no less, to find success. I would venture to suggest that he needed a change of scenery, both literally — getting away from Coors Field where the humidor helps but isn’t a fix for the thin air and spacious pastures — and into an environment of consistency in terms of how he can attack hitters.

 


Marvin Williams traded to Utah

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Marvin Williams’ seven-year run with the Atlanta Hawks is over. The Hawks traded the forward from Bremerton to the Utah Jazz for guard Devin Harris.
We’ll have more on this later.


Adrian third in 50 free finals; won’t swim event in London

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Known in the swimming world as the splash-and-dash, the 50-meter freestyle lived up to that billing Sunday at the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb.

Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian was upset by Cullen Jones and Anthony Ervin and finished third by .08 seconds, narrowly missing out on his shot of swimming the event in London later this month. He finished in 21.68 seconds.

Jones won the event in 21.59 followed by Ervin, who qualified for the Olympics for the first time since winning a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Games. Ervin finished second in 21.60.

Adrian’s time was a personal best and the fourth-fastest time in the world this year. Brazil’s Cesar Cielo holds the world record in 20.91. Jones is the American-record holder in 21.40.

Adrian, who was the top seed coming into the trials, was tied for the second-fastest qualifying time from the semifinals and was the favorite to win the event.

Adrian had already qualified for London by winning the 100 freestyle Friday. It’s likely he will swim in the 400-meter medley relay and the 400-meter free relay.


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